Sending the Südtribune into absolute raptures and making the entire Signal Iduna Park rock with a last-gasp goal against Bayern Munich in the Klassiker will gain you more than a few friends. You will enjoy the rest of your weekend knowing that everybody in the city of Dortmund loves you. In fact, the love will extend throughout the next week as the goal is played and replayed in people’s minds and across social media.
This love and level of admiration however has not been a thing Anthony Modeste has felt since his move from Köln. The transfer in itself was last-gasp, and some felt ill though-out as BVB sought a late transfer window replacement for Sebastien Haller following his cancer diagnosis. The player and BVB fans were thrust into a relationship and was akin to an awkward first-date when you instantly think there is no ‘chemistry’ between you.
The problem is Borussia Dortmund were committed to a second and third date and couldn’t just bring out the ‘friend zone’ card.
In the case of Modeste, his lack of goals, the way he struggled to adapt to Dortmund and the way they struggled to adapt to him just gave the impression of a mismatch in the opening games of the season. He scored against Hertha with a header, but Kicker Sportmagazin gave him a five rating on four occasions out of eight at the start of the season.
Starting on the bench against Bayern for the Klassiker with 17-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko preferred showed that Modeste had been given his chance and not fulfilled the expectation. The time had come to give the young gun his chance.
With Dortmund 2-0 down with twenty minutes left though coach Edin Terzic decided it was time to unleash Modeste and Moukoko together. Just minutes after coming on his clever run into the deep was picked out by Moukoko and after holding off Dayot Upamecano he realised his was a little wide to get off a shot and unselfishly laid the ball off to Moukoko to smash home. It was game on for BVB.
Modeste soon went from hero to zero with an atrocious miss after Karim Adeyemi had provide him with a sublime cross that is simply meat and drink for any half-decent striker (It was the sort of chance even Davie Selke might have put away).
The ex-Köln striker made amends with the last action of the match heading home Schlotterbeck’s curled ball at the far post. Hero again.
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) October 8, 2022
“I could’ve scored two goals at the end; that’s clear” he said after things had calmed down somewhat after the match. “But the fact I made it 2-2 is the most important thing. I simply kept believing in myself – if I don’t do that, who’s going to do it for me? And I got my reward. I’ve gotten a lot of stick, but I’ve already seen everything in football. I need to stay positive and always believe in myself.”
Trainer Edin Terzic has always believed in Modeste and has had to use his man management skills to reassure the player this season. “I think everyone felt the relief,” Terzic said after the game at the press conference.
“Not just Tony, but the whole team. The whole stadium was happy for Tony. It wasn’t an easy phase in the last few days and weeks. What Tony had to read and hear about himself isn’t easy. It’s not easy for anyone. But we said we’d go through it together.”
In a way, Modeste was on a hiding to nothing. He is not Erling Haaland, and he is not Sebastien Haller. There was always going to be a period of adaptation, but football is an unforgiving business where time is not something readily afforded players or coaches (ask Gerardo Seoane).
So, has Anthony Modeste turned a corner at Dortmund. Terzic believes in him, he now has a lot of credit with the fans and BVB have the luxury of having both Modeste and Moukoko to choose from- maybe even both together. The season thus far has been one filled with Modeste negativity. Now perhaps will improve and the positivity will flow. That would be the ideal, but let’s see what happens.